The New York Times bestseller: a true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.
After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these “guests,” and human names for the animals, it’s no wonder that the zoo’s code name became “The House Under a Crazy Star.” Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story―sharing Antonina’s life as “the zookeeper’s wife,” while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award. 8 pages of illustrations
Julie Otsuka - When the Emperor Was Divine
It is four months after Pearl Harbor and over night signs appear across the United States instructing Japanese Americans to report to internment camps for the duration of the war. For one family it proves to be a nightmare of oppression and alienation. Told from different points of view - the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train journey; the son in the desert encampment; the family's return home; and the bitter release of their father after four years in captivity - it is an incarceration that will alter their lives for ever. Based on a true story, Julie Otsuka's powerful, deeply humane novel tells of an unjustly forgotten episode in America's wartime history.
Art Spiegelman - Maus: A Survivor's Tale - And Here My Troubles Began
Acclaimed as a "quiet triumph"* and a "brutally moving work of art,"** the first volume of Art Spiegelman's Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiarity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive. As the New York Times Book Review commented," [it is] a remarkable feat of documentary detail and novelistic vividness...an unfolding literary event." This long-awaited sequel, subtitled And Here My Troubles Began, moves us from the barracks of Auschwitz to the bungalows of the Catskills. Genuinely tragic and comic by turns, it attains a complexity of theme and a precision of thought new to comics and rare in any medium. Maus ties together two powerful stories: Vladek's harrowing tale of survival against all odds, delineating the paradox of daily life in the death camps, and the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Vladek's troubled remarriage, minor arguments between father and son, and life's everyday disappointments are all set against a backdrop of history too large to pacify. At every level this is the ultimate survivor's tale -- and that too of the children who somehow survive even the survivors. * Washington Post ** Boston Globe *** "Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep. When two of the mice speak of love, you are moved, when they suffer, you weep. Slowly through this little tale comprised of suffering, humor and life's daily trials, you are captivated by the language of an old Eastern European family, and drawn into the gentle and mesmerizing rhythm, and when you finish Maus, you are unhappy to have left that magical world and long for the sequel that will return you to it." - Umberto Eco Art Spiegelman is co-founder/editor of _Raw_, the acclaimed magazine of avant-garde comics and graphics. His work has been published in the _New York Times_, _Playboy_, the _Village Voice_ and many other periodicals, and his drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries here and abroad. Honors he has received for _Maus_ include a Guggenheim fellowship and nomination for the National Books Critics Circle Award. Mr. Spiegelman lives in New York City with his wife, Françoise Mouly and their daughter, Nadja.
Ben Macintyre - Agent Zigzag
One December night in 1942, a Nazi parachutist landed in a Cambridgeshire field. His mission: to sabotage the British war effort. His name was Eddie Chapman, but he would shortly become MI5's Agent Zigzag. Dashing and louche, courageous and unpredictable, the traitor was a patriot inside, and the villain a hero. The problem for Chapman, his many lovers and his spymasters was knowing who he was. Ben Macintyre weaves together diaries, letters, photographs, memories and top-secret MI5 files to create the exhilarating account of Britain's most sensational double agent.
Graham Pitchfork - Shot Down and on the Run
Many POW escape stories are well known, but what about those who miraculously evaded capture in the first place and returned to fight another day? This book tells some of the stories of the thousands of shot-down Commonwealth airmen who got out from behind enemy lines during World War II.
Robert Capa - Slightly Out of Focus
In 1942, a dashing young man who liked nothing so much as a heated game of poker, a good bottle of scotch, and the company of a pretty girl hopped a merchant ship to England. He was Robert Capa, the brilliant and daring photojournalist, and Collier's magazine had put him on assignment to photograph the war raging in Europe. In these pages, Capa recounts his terrifying journey through the darkest battles of World War II and shares his memories of the men and women of the Allied forces who befriended, amused, and captivated him along the way. His photographs are masterpieces -- John G. Morris, Magnum Photos' first executive editor, called Capa "the century's greatest battlefield photographer" -- and his writing is by turns riotously funny and deeply moving. From Sicily to London, Normandy to Algiers, Capa experienced some of the most trying conditions imaginable, yet his compassion and wit shine on every page of this book. Charming and profound, Slightly Out of Focus is a marvelous memoir told in words and pictures by an extraordinary man.
Nyiszli Miklós - Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account
When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, the prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the man who became known as the infamous "Angel of Death" - Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. In that capactity he also served as physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked exclusively in the crematoriums and were routinely executed after four months. Miraculously, Nyiszli survived to give this horrifying and sobering account.
Eric Lomax - The Railway Man
During the second world war Eric Lomax was forced to work on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway and was tortured by the Japanese for making a crude radio. Left emotionally scarred and unable to form normal relationships Lomax suffered for years until, with the help of his wife Patti and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, he came to terms with what had happened and, fifty years after the terrible events, was able to meet one of his tormentors.
David Fletcher - Matilda Infantry Tank 1938-45
The Matilda was the principal British infantry tank in the early years of World War II. It served with the BEF in France and later in North Africa, where it earned the title ‘Queen of the Desert’. Outclassed by increasingly powerful German anti-tank weapons, it still remained a power in the South-East Pacific, and was kept in service until the end of the war by Australian forces. In this title, David Fletcher deals with Marks I to V. Development and operational history are discussed, along with service in other countries, including Germany and Russia. Numerous variants are also covered, including the prototype ‘Hedgehog’ bunker-busting weapon.
Traudl Junge - Until the Final Hour
This hardcover book was a bestseller in Germany. It opens an extraordinary window on a period of history and a personality that continue to fascinate and appall.
Osamu Tezuka - Message to Adolf 1.
_This is the story of three men named Adolf._ It is 1936 in Berlin, Nazi Germany. A Japanese reporter named Sohei Tohge is covering the Berlin Olympic Games for the Japanese press. As he sits in the Japanese press box watching the many track and field events of the day, he receives a call from his younger brother Isao, who has been studying in Germany as an international student. The two make plans to meet as Isao mentions he has something of importance to share with his sibling. While Sohei initially thinks his little brother may have found a young frau, Isao's tone is clearly that of one who is troubled by topics much heavier than romance. When Sohei arrives at Berlin University, he finds his brother's room has been through some sort of violent ordeal. A mysterious message was left on a note pad and a window was left wide open. And tangled in the branches of a tree directly below Isao's window rested his dead body. Isao was murdered. Sohei would immediately launch an investigation to the murder, but almost instantly all traces of information regarding his younger brother's study in Germany has vanished. The police were of no help. Isao's room was also cleared and rented out to another person. Even his building manager feined ignorance. It was as if he had never existed. Investigating the matter, it is later learned that this murder is connected to a document he mailed to Japan with information regarding Adolf Hitler. As events progress, the lives of three Adolfs, each from distinct origins, intertwine and become more and more tangled as Sohei Toge searches for his brother's murderer.
Olga Lengyel - Five Chimneys
Having lost her husband, her parents, and her two young sons to the Nazi exterminators, Olga Lengyel had little to live for during her seven-month internment in Auschwitz. Only Lengyel's work in the prisoners' underground resistance and the need to tell this story kept her fighting for survival. She survived by her wit and incredible strength. Despite her horrifying closeness to the subject, Five Chimneys: A Woman Survivor's True Story of Auschwitz does not retreat into self-pit or sensationalism. When Five Chimneys was first published (two years after World War II ended), Albert Einstein was so moved by her story that he wrote a personal letter to Lengyel, thanking her for her "very frank, very well written book". Today, with "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia, and neo-Nazis on the rise in western Europe, we cannot afford to forget the grisly lessons of the Holocaust. Five Chimneys is a stark reminder that the unspeakable can happen wherever and whenever ethnic hatreds, religious bigotries, and racial discriminations are permitted to exist.
Hans Fallada - Alone in Berlin
Otto, an ordinary German living in a shabby apartment block, tries to stay out of trouble under Nazi rule. But when he discovers his only son has been killed fighting at the front he's shocked into an extraordinary act of resistance, and starts to drop anonymous postcards attacking Hitler across the city. If caught, he will be executed. Soon this silent campaign comes to the attention of ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich, and a murderous game of cat-and-mouse begins. Whoever loses, pays with their life.
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - The War that Saved My Life
An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of _Jefferson’s Sons_ and for fans of _Number the Stars_. Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him. So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother? This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.
Martha Hall Kelly - Lilac Girls
Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and secrets that were hidden for decades. New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France. An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences. For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power. The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.
Ken Follett - Winter of the World
Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as “sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks” (USA Today) and “grippingly told and readable to the end” (The New York Times Book Review). “If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants,” said The Washington Post, “they should be well worth waiting for.” Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak. . . . American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific. . . . English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism. . . . Daisy Peshkov, a driven American social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war—but the war to come. These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With passion and the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
Ann Howard Creel - The Magic of Ordinary Days
Olivia Dunne, a studious minister's daughter who dreams of being an archaeologist, never thought that the drama of World War II would affect her quiet life in Denver. An exhilarating flirtation reshapes her life, though, and she finds herself banished to a rural Colorado outpost, married to a man she hardly knows. Overwhelmed by loneliness, Olivia tentatively tries to establish a new life, finding much-needed friendship and solace in two Japanese American sisters who are living at a nearby internment camp. When Olivia unwittingly becomes an accomplice to a crime and is faced with betrayal, she finally confronts her own desires. Beautifully written and filled with memorable characters, Creel's novel is a powerful exploration of the nature of trust and love.
Gordon L. Rottman - Saipan & Tinian 1944
The 1944 invasion of Saipan was the first two-division amphibious assault conducted by US forces in World War II. Saipan and Tinian had been under Japanese control since 1914 and, heavily colonized, they were considered virtually part of the Empire. The struggle for Saipan and Tinian was characterized by the same bitter fighting that typified the entire Central Pacific campaign. Fighting side-by-side, Army and Marine units witnessed the largest tank battle of the Pacific War, massed Japanese banzai charges, and the horror of hundreds of Japanese civilians committing suicide to avoid capture. In this book Gordon Rottman details the capture of these vital islands that led to the collapse of Prime Minister Tojo’s government.
Gordon Williamson - Kriegsmarine U-boats 1939-45 (1)
This, the first of two volumes on Germany's World War II U-boats, traces their development from the early U-boats of the Kaiser's Navy, the prohibition on Germany having U-boats following the Armistice in 1918 and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles, the secret development of U-boats using a 'cover-firm' in Holland, culminating in the formation of the 1st U-boat Flotilla in 1935 with the modern Type II. The operational history section includes examples from the Classes Type VIIA, Type VIIB, VIID, VIIE and VIIF before concentrating on the mainstay of the U-boat arm, the Type VIIC. Comparisons are also made with the standard allied submarines, their strengths, weaknesses and U-boat tactics.
Sebastian Faulks - Charlotte Gray
Charlotte Gray Set during the Second World War, this was the last of Faulks’s French trilogy, following The Girl at the Lion d’Or and Birdsong. It is the most inward-looking of the three books, dealing with themes of memory and loss. The main character’s search for her missing lover in occupied France is set against an uncompromising portrayal of French political life under the German occupation, including French co-operation in the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz. Despite its harrowing subject matter, it has proved one of Faulks’s most popular novels, remains his best seller in hardback and has sold more than a million copies overall in the United Kingdom. Charlotte Gray is the daughter of Captain Gray, Stephen Wraysford’s commanding officer in Birdsong. In her early twenties, she leaves Scotland to come to London, where she wants to help the Allied war effort. She is a highly principled, somewhat reserved character and is not immediately at home in the rackety life of the war-time capital. While working as a doctor’s assistant, Charlotte meets and falls in love with an English RAF pilot, Peter Gregory, whose carefree approach to life and death contrasts with her own deeply considered attitudes. Her command of French and her apparent self-discipline lead her to be recruited by ‘G’ Section, an undercover organisation that is clearly based on the real-life Special Operations Executive (SOE). When Gregory goes missing over France, Charlotte persuades herself that she can combine her proposed work for G Section with an unofficial search for her lover, and she is dropped by parachute over central western France, ending up in a village called Lavaurette. As a cover, she takes a job working as a maid for an elderly painter called Levade, a former libertine, now a thoughtful and religious man. His long conversations with the much younger Charlotte about art, love and death form the thematic heart of the book. Levade’s son, Julien, is an architect and also leader of the local resistance group. Charlotte keeps her true identity – and her true self – hidden from Julien. Her increasingly forlorn hope that Peter Gregory has survived becomes equated in her mind with a desire to keep alive the spirit of France as she has known it – exemplified by the Resistance. Her hope for one depends on her belief in the other. But Levade is Jewish, and Julien half Jewish. In a frightening scene, officials of the Vichy government interview the deeply francophile Levade in his old house and have him deported to the holding camp at Drancy, near Paris, and thence to Auschwitz to fulfil a ‘quota’ of Jews. Julien goes into hiding, and Charlotte, in a desperate move, goes to Paris to try to rescue two local Jewish boys, André and Jacob. By risking her life in this way, she feels she has proved her devotion to France and to the possibility of its resuming its previous life after the War. Some readers found the scenes in Drancy and then at Auschwitz, described through the eyes of the boys, almost impossible to read. But Charlotte herself grows in power and understanding; she leaves behind the reserved girl of the opening chapters as for the first time she is able to bring the full force of her considerable character to bear on events. She is finally reunited with her lover, though, characteristically, there is no happy ending, as the book closes on a diminishing chord in which the entrance of an English church during a wedding recalls the final doorway seen by André and Jacob. At times in the central section in Lavaurette, the book seems to have bitten off more than it can digest philosophically; but the narrative is driven on by Faulks’s searching exploration of Charlotte’s inner landscape (culminating in a confessional ‘recovered memory’ scene with her father) and by his cold-eyed and, for its time, ground-breaking account of French co-operation in the Holocaust. Levade’s letters to Julien as he faces deportation and death in Auschwitz have become well known. Above all, the novel offers, in the person of Charlotte, a tribute to the power of human character under circumstances of extreme duresse.
Art Spiegelman - Maus: A Survivor's Tale - My Father Bleeds History
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.